neck aches and headaches

by Frieda C.
(Missouri)

Frieda

Frieda



I am awakened in the middle of the night with one side of the neck muscle tight and a headache.

Should I use a special pillow? I can't seem to find one that doesn't give me these problems.

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Joshua Answers:

Well hello there Aunt Frieda! (Or is that second cousin, or second cousin once removed?)

Thanks for adding the picture. I haven't seen you for so long I had forgotten how pretty you are :) Plus, it provides good clues about your neck tightness and headache questions.

So what's going on with your neck? I think I have just the thing for you, but I need some more information first.

1. How long has this been going on? Is it new? Recurring?

2. Is it always just the one side of your neck?

3. Is there always a headache attached to the neck tightness?

4. What kind of pillow do you use now? Big/small? Soft/firm?

5. Any other pains in general, neck/shoulders/back?

6. Any history of whiplash or related incident, car crash, falling off a horse, down stairs, etc. I'm just looking for history of possible trauma to the neck.

7. The more clues, the better.

Let me know so I can provide you with the best answer that will help you the most.



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Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

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Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert
www.TendonitisExpert.com













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Comments for neck aches and headaches

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Apr 07, 2009
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PART 2 Reply to neck aches and headaches
by: Frieda

1. How long has this been going on? Is it new? Recurring?

Off and on for about a month now.

2. Is it always just the one side of your neck?

Yes, usually. I think so.

3. Is there always a headache attached to the neck tightness? In this case it seems so.

Over the years I have suffered with tight neck muscles with many of my headaches. (some are hormonal)

4. What kind of pillow do you use now?

The pillow is poly fill, King (long) and smoochy. I try to have enough under my neck for support.

5. Any other pains in general, neck/shoulders/back?

I have felt neck pain in the muscles when I turn my head to side to side as when driving. I have been told I tend to tighten my shoulders up so I try to be aware of that. I have suffered from back strain but not at this time. I do use a pillow between the legs.

6. Any history of whiplash or related incident, car crash, falling off a horse, down stairs, etc. I'm just looking for history of possible trauma to the neck.

In 1967 I was in the back seat when my family was in an accident. I don't remember much of it. Seat belts were not used then. Haven't hit my head lately (because I forgot the freezer door was still open).

I do get neck pain when I am using the lap top on the coffee table while sitting on the couch--poor poor posture.

7. The more clues, the better.

The mattress is not too firm but not smoochy. We got it when we were in Italy (1987) to fit the bed frame we bought then. (between king and queen size) It is on a flat spring (not box).

Apr 12, 2009
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Part 3 Neck Aches and Headaches
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Hi Freida. Happy Easter.

Thanks for answering the questions, that gives me a lot of good information about your tight neck and headaches complaints.

You could try another pillow, the 'less' the better. A lot of people cause themselves problems with too big of a pillow, and it cranks their neck all night long.

Still, the pillow itself isn't likely to be the problem in your case, I think.

I bet that the muscles in your neck and top of shoulders are just too tight. Chronically tight. Plus over time the connective tissue starts shrinkwrapping down around tight muscles.

And then the nervous system goes..."well, it's been this tight for a long time, it must be normal." So the tight muscles get set as 'normal'.

This means that your muscles are working hard all the time, including at night when you sleep. It's as if your arm is holding up a 50 pound dumbell all night (except we're talking about your neck)

And because there is constant work, and constant strain of the neck all night, it makes sense that that does a few things that can cause headaches.

The Vertebral Arteries go through the muscles at the very back base of your skull, the sub-occipital muscles.

When these muscles are tight, and yours certainly are (laptop use, etc), they constrict blood flow to the brain, causing headaches.

Added to by whatever hormonal stuff you have going on.

I suggest a couple weeks of my favorite neck exercise.

1. Look over each shoulder 10 times, slowly and going as far as you comfortably can.

2. Look to the sky, look to the floor, 10 times, slowly and going as far as you comfortably can.

3. Right ear to right shoulder, then left ear to left shoulder, 10 times, slowly and going as far as you comfortably can.

Also, do that shoulder shrug exercise where you shrug your shoulders as much as you can for a second, then totally relax. Repeat 10 times.

Do this 3 times a day, spaced throughout the day, for a week.

It's good all the way around and will help relax the muscles and retrain the nervous system to give you more easy range of motion and range of tone.

Try it and keep me updated, and ask questions along the way.

Jul 16, 2009
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Headache and Neckaches
by: Frieda

Josh, Per your advise, I reduced my pillow. Haven't had any headaches. :-)

Feb 23, 2011
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Headaches with neckpain
by: Jeanie

I am in my 40's now and I have a lot of neck pains and headaches. I have been on several migraine medication but nothing helps. I've notice the pain after sleeping. The process you had given your Aunt is something I could try. I do experience the erg to vomit and some dizziness.


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Joshua Comments:

I would certainly start. Gently at first.

Have you seen doctors to rule out anything 'bad'?



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